"No pain, no gain": the experience of women using sterile water injections

Lee, Nigel, Kildea, Sue and Stapleton, Helen (2016) "No pain, no gain": the experience of women using sterile water injections. Women and Birth, 30 2: 153-158. doi:10.1016/j.wombi.2016.09.010

Author Lee, Nigel
Kildea, Sue
Stapleton, Helen
Title "No pain, no gain": the experience of women using sterile water injections
Journal name Women and Birth   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1871-5192
Publication date 2016-01-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.wombi.2016.09.010
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 30
Issue 2
Start page 153
End page 158
Total pages 6
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract

Sterile water injections (SWI) are gaining popularity amongst women and midwives for the relief of back pain in labour. However the brief but intense pain associated with the injection has been cited as a deterrent to use and may negatively affect the birth experience.


To explore women’s experiences of using sterile water injections as analgesia for back pain in labour.


A qualitative study, which generated data through individual semi-structured interviews with postnatal women. Data were analysed thematically.


Two metropolitan maternity units in Queensland, Australia.


Nine postnatal women who had participated in a randomised controlled trial investigating the use of sterile water injections for back pain in labour


Three major themes were identified including sterile water injections as a non-pharmacological injection; balancing injection pain against expectations of pain relief; the analgesic effect of sterile water injections.

Key conclusions

Women in this study largely viewed sterile water injections as an effective analgesia with few side effects. The pain associated with the injection of sterile water was weighed against the likelihood of rapid, effective pain relief. Women used the period of analgesia to support their objectives, be this a period of respite during the labour or to enhance the ability to focus on the birth experience. Information on SWI provided by health professionals should also balance realistic descriptions of the injection pain with prospect of analgesia.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Mater Research Institute-UQ (MRI-UQ)
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School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 07 Nov 2016, 19:40:49 EST by Sue Kildea on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work